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bread-stamps-msg - 3/19/08


Stamps used to leave insignia in bread loaves.


NOTE: See also the files: bread-msg, brd-mk-flat-msg, breadmaking-msg, yeasts-msg, BNYeast-art, religion-msg, leavening-msg, casting-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 22:05:23 -0800

From: "Deborah Schumacher" <zoe at antir.com>

Subject: SC - Byzantine Bread Stamps


I was perusing some Byzantine links and came up with these really neat

bread presses.  Looking at them I'm not so sure how they would be used

though. Pressed into flat breads?  Or just indented into a normal round

loaf before you bake it?

Anyone have any ideas? here is the link to the Bread Stamps






Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 08:35:44 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Byzantine Bread Stamps


These stamps aren't for general use.  One is a Eucharist stamp, which would be

used for imprinting the consecrated bread for Communion. The bread might

have been similar to the modern Communion wafers or it might have been a

small unleavened loaf.

The other is a eulogia stamp for bread given to the faithful, which suggests

that it was for loaves prepared for the Greek Orthodox Church for specific

religious purposes.

These stamps would like have been used only for sacremental baking.

Depending on the dough and the manner of preparation, the loaves could have

been pressed before being put in the oven or the stamps could have been

heated in the oven and the bread pressed on them to bake. The second

technique is similar to the method used to press baker's marks in loaves.




Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 13:13:59 -0500

From: "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip at morganco.net>

Subject: SC - Fw: Prosphora Stamps (was Byzantine Bread Stamps)


I asked my Byzantine List, and just got a very interesting and detailed

response on the usage of the bread stamps. I hope this helps- I found it

very interesting.




Philippa Farrour

Caer Frig

Southeastern Ohio


- -----Original Message-----

From: jgulka at pil.net <jgulka at pil.net>

To: BYZANS-L at lists.missouri.edu <BYZANS-L at lists.missouri.edu>

Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2000 12:38 PM

Subject: Prosphora Stamps



From the dating of the Prosphora Seals ( Sphragis) you

detail, the bread would have been leavened, as was the Byzantine

traditional usage. The issue of leavened/unleavened was an issue

mangué until the 11thc, when the issue of leavened vs unleavened

emerged in high (rhetorically and theologically) as an issue in

Greek/Latin  practice. As is well known, the Latin use of unleavened

bread (azyma) instead of leavened bread in the Eucharist was

condemned by the Greeks  (among other reasons) as being a "Jewish

practice", and hence suspect of creeping "Judaizing".Incidentally,

when in 1054 the Latin Azyma had been condemned by Patriarch Michael

Cerularios, the practice of unleavened bread on the part of the

Armenians was at the same time attacked by the mystical theologian

Nicetas Stethatos on the grounds of "Judaizing". Clearly, by 1274,

the time of LYONS II,the term 'Azymite'  had become highly

significant to the Byzantine mind as connoting one with Latin or

"Latinizing" views.


The stamp/sphragis would have been sealed to the topmost

center of the loaf, where, despite the portions of the loaf removed

for specific commemorations,  it became the central locus for the

ritual re-enactment of the passion narrative.


Josef Gulka





Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 09:56:29 -0500

From: "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip at morganco.net>

Subject: SC - Fw: Prosphora


Here's more on the bread molds.




Philippa Farrour

Caer Frig

Southeastern Ohio


- -----Original Message-----

From: Peter Raftos <greeting at zip.com.au>

To: phlip at morganco.net <phlip at morganco.net>

Date: Thursday, March 16, 2000 1:04 AM

Subject: Prosphora


>Hi Phillipa,

>I've seen your posts concerning prosphora on Byzans-L and the SCA cooks

>list. As you know, bread and grain were "controlled substances" -

>especially in C'nople- because of their sometime scarcity as well as the

>fact that commercial life was controlled in a pretty sophisticated way

>( see the 9th C Book of the Eparch  by Leo VI

>To eparchikon biblion. The book of the Eparch.

>Ed as Le livre du Prefet. With an introd. by Ivan Dujcev. (London:

>Variorum Reprints, 1970)

>English trans. The Book of the Eparch. Byzantine Guilds, Professional

>and Commerical Ordinannces of Leo VI. C. 895 from the Book of the

>Eparch, trans. E. H. Freshfield, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,


>English trans. Book of the Prefect, trans A.E.R.Boak, Journal of

>Economic and Business History, 1 (1929), 600-19 )


>This book out lines wonderful things like when fires had to be put out

>and who had exemptions from specific rules. Breadmaking and supply were

>a "big deal" which for many of us, with supermarkets and

>industrialisation, is literally a thing of the past (

>http://crh.choate.edu/history/_discfall/00000087.htm ). Outside of the

>church I believe that bread stamps were used to denote point of origin

>and to control the supply of bread ( not to mention paying taxes). The

>church's practice seems to be a vestigal imperial practice which may go

>back to Late Antiquity or earlier. I have no references yet as it is

>something that needs more research time than I have. Modern prosphora

>stamps can be of wood or plastic. In the past they have been made of

>wood, ceramic, and metal. Designs have varied over the ages but have

>settled at one (at least in the Greek Orthodox Church). Anti-doron is

>the bread given out to those not participating in communion. I can't

>recall seeing it stamped but it may have been in Byzantine times for the

>reasons mentioned above.


>Here are some helpful links. The first link is the most comprehensive

>and also has Orthodox Paschal, Lenten and Festal recipes as well as a

>recipe for Kollyva...boiled grain offering for the dead, a lovely pagan

>practice which goes back to Ancient Greece. The other two are useful for

>understanding the Orthodox perspective on bread.







>If you have a local Orthodox church they sometimes have a good library

>and will often let you research there if not borrow books. Yes these

>books have an orthodox ecclesiastical bent but if you read between the

>lines much information and other sources can be culled. Another nice

>essay on Byzantium is to be found at found at



> And did you know sauerkraut is period for Byzantium. Monasteries today

>still make the stuff.



Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 19:22:43 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: "Laura C. Minnick" <lcm at efn.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roman Baker's Mark photo


>Forwarded this news from SCA-bakers. Saw the photo and it's wonderfully

>clear. I only wonder how it would be used. I thought the marks were put

>UNDER the loaf.....




>Photo of roman Baker's mark:



If you put it underneath it's obliterated during baking. Baker's stamps (at

least to my knowledge) in the MA were done on top. I'll bet Bear has more

info though...



-thought it was cute though- a foot, with lettering...



From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roman Baker's Mark photo

Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 00:02:39 -0500


Jeremy Fletcher is the man when you are discussing baker's marks.  He is

about the only person who has done any recent research on them.  In fact,

the original message on the bakers list was directed to him.




>If you put it underneath it's obliterated during baking. Baker's stamps (at

>least to my knowledge) in the MA were done on top. I'll bet Bear has more

>info though...





Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 16:20:23 -0700

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roman Baker's Mark photo


'Lainie wrote (about a month ago):

>If you put it underneath it's obliterated during baking. Baker's stamps (at

>least to my knowledge) in the MA were done on top. I'll bet Bear has more

>info though...


My understanding of baker's marks (this is from memory from talking

with Wulfric the Mad Baker/Jeremy Fletcher of the West Kingdom) is

that the baker's mark is a little lump of some shape, that being the

shape you want imprinted in your bread, and you put it under the loaf

while it bakes; when you take the loaf out of the oven and remove the

baker's mark, its shape is baked into the bottom of the bread.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook



From: "Lis" <liontamr at ptd.net>

To: <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>, <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Roman Baker's Mark photo

Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 15:17:48 -0400


Thanks for your comments re: bakers marks. I was puzzling over this one as

well. It makes no sense to place the mark on the top of the loaf, as that

would impede the rise. In addition, I've seen many images of loaves from our

period of study, and NONE of those images showed a stamp, mark or shape, etc

on top, though many DID show other marks such as cuts common to improve the

rise of the bread in the oven. I've looked at the websites and other webinfo on the subject and I'm not convinced.


However, this is why I was puzzled by the assertion that this was a baker's

mark----it wouldn't be possible to put this one UNDER the loaf due to it's

handle. Is there any reason to suppose that the marks weren't on the SIDE?


I'm aware that baking practices in ancient Rome and M.A./Ren England

wouldn't necessarily be the same, but....





Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 01:24:31 -0400

From: John Kemker <john at kemker.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Need help with a translation [Slightly OT]

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Carole Smith wrote:

> Wulfric told me you have to leave the baker's mark in the bread while

> it bakes.


> Cordelia


That's what I gathered, merely from his pictures.  He shows the baker's

mark sitting on the hearthstone in his oven.  He then places the loaves

of risen dough on the marks and bakes them.  When the bread comes out,

he pops the mark off the bottom of the loaf and you can see the

impression on the bottom.



Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:45:18 -0700 (PDT)

From: Kathleen Madsen <kmadsen12000 at yahoo.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Squirrels and Bread Marks

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


BTW, there was much talk last week about the baker's

mark that Master Wulfric uses.  He was out at our

house on Saturday doing a cooking demo for the Barony,

making sausages and bread.  The marker, he says,

almost always makes a clear impression where the word

that is part of it can usually be read.  The marker is

a 1.75 inch diameter disk and you can see it on his




I have two loaves baking in the oven right now for

this weekend's event.  I know, I know, it should be

fresh - but I work two Farmer's Market's on Friday's

and my day is *completely* booked.  I'm lucky if I can

get an hour to nap between the two.  ;)





Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 23:59:27 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Byzantine bread stamps

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


From the Byzantine List:





On both of these pages are Byzantine bread stamps. The second page has info

on why they were used, but I wonder how they were used. Were bread loaves

baked on top of them?





Saint Phlip



Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2006 08:26:35 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Byzantine bread stamps

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


More on bread stamps, from a modern site, that gives links to early





<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org